Previously we used to head to Europe in the summer (I'm a teacher and my wife is a lecturer) and while there we would enjoy heading to local supermarkets, markets and shops for food. We always considered this was our way of giving back to the local economy - just a little. For various reasons, everything has increased in price massively so this year we are considering stocking the van before we head out to save money where we can. We're off bouldering in Valais, Switzerland and I am shocked at the exchange rate. Obviously we can't take four week's worth of food but we can take staples with us. I thought I'd get ideas on some good long-life cupboard staples. Here are a few we take usually:
UHT milk, cartons of UHT soya cream for carbanara type meals, dried mushrooms are worth every penny, tinned anything (carrots, peas, mushrooms, beans obviously, peaches, stawberies, jack fruit), tempeh in a jar, capers in a jar, rice pudding, custard, pasta and rice obviously, cous cous, QUINOA is a massive one.
We have two young kids and generally start each day with porridge to get the whole family going.
Anyone got any other key ingredients they like to take?
When I started going to Switzerland we used to convert prices to pounds by thinking 'half the price in Swiss francs and it's a little worse than that' e.g. 50 francs would be somewhere around £30. Just paid a deposit on a campsite: 74 francs is £64.. Switzerland has always been an expensive destination but this makes it even more than ever. Same with euros really. Used to be around £1 was 75 euro cents, now it's pretty much 1:1. For sure a lot more expensive for us earning £££ rather than €€€
Flour and baking powder (pancakes for breakfast and naan breads for other meals), lentils (daal), tomato puree (take less space than tins or jars), garlic puree - ginger puree - anchovies - olives (loads of flavour for little space), Katsu curry stock cubes (for when you can't be bothered doing much but still want something tasty), dried tofu mince (for when you fancy a Bolognese but don't have much space in / don't have a freezer for meat), tinned fish (very versatile) and bacon (because it's very hard to find on the continent, and whilst porridge is great, you can't beat bacon and eggs on a rest day morning).
Currently in a van in Chamonix - these have been the heroes for me:
Shitake mushrooms (you mentioned, but feels worth another shout out!), noodles (udon, egg, rice etc.), dried chillies, bulk-ordered nuts, rivita-type things, marmalade, coconut milk, coconut oil, chickpeas, lentils, chopped tomatoes, chilli paste, mahoosive tub of peanut butter, oil, Bioasia Organic Tofu (bit pricey, but can be bulk-bought online, stores easily and is immense! Much, much better than the silken stuff IMO). I've also found that you can get bananas that are at the end of their life pretty cheap out here, which when mashed, make a great egg substitute with flour, milk and sugar for cheap pancakes!
Nice one. I like the banana pancakes idea with out of date bananas. You need a tonne of them but they work well. Dried chillies I will add. Peanut butter - always but only with marmite.
How does the Tofu work and where do you get it - does it not need a fridge? We have tinned temph and jars of tempeh..
Apart from any rules around importing food to the EU (check dairy, for one) I'd hazard a guess that any savings you make on buying it out there will be somewhat offset by the extra fuel costs of carting it there, no? Especially anything wet or tinned, which will be heavy by definition - think wear and tear on tyres.
In short, you might save a few quid, but it isn't a very green strategy.
Oatcakes? Soy sauce? And plus one for rice noodles (tapey kind, mmm)
Naturally, veganism to be encouraged tho anecdotally lot's of Tesco's shops are getting thru and i don't think it's come to swallowing pork chops in condoms yet. Going for a month i guess they'll be down to a per day distance comparable to a commute.
Why not enlighten us as to where people are going wrong?
I thought it was just fresh stuff that would be a problem. Anything processed and packed is usually ok.
Anyway, what in reality has changed since brexit regarding the UK food production standards that will be such a threat to eu wildlife and agriculture? The UK still has very high food standards and pretty much signed over all the old rules into the new.
I wasn't going to respond to a post questioning my 'green strategy' for the trip when I was asking for advice on ideas for saving money on food. But since you are pointing the finger:
- We are not flying and always head to our holidays by road as we camp
- We are a bus ride from campsite to boulders for the first two weeks of the holiday
- Third and fourth weeks we will be a short drive to the climbing (12 mins).
I don't feel too bad about that really and really resent feeling the need to defend my choices for going on holiday. As a family we try to make green choices. Recently relocated to be less than a 10 min drive from our local crag with the option of catching a train to another.
In terms of saving money:
- A tin of chopped tomatoes here is about 45p here (not the budget ones but not the expensive ones), at Migros in Switzlerland is 1F20 (£1.04 at today's rate) so just over double
- A litre of UHT milk is 83p here, at Migros in Switzerland is 1F50 (£1.30 at today's rate) so not quite double.
- Food will add up to about 40-50kg being transported 800 miles. I'm not sure how you go about working out the extra fuel cost on that weight or the tyres wear?
Feels greener than your stated interests outside climbing on your profile page.
I think with silken tofu you do, but the drier firm stuff can just go in a cupboard. I used to order from Amazon (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bioasia-Organic-Tofu-Japanese-Style/dp/B087GLFFWM), but it looks like it's currently unavailable. May be worth scouting around to see if anywhere else online does that stuff.
After checking Gethin's post on what can be imported to EU for personal consumption.. I see you can take up to 20kg of eviscerated fish (each???) well looks like you guys are sorted then! You may smell funny on your return but that's a small price to pay
> "If you travel to the EU from a non-EU country, you are not allowed to bring any meat or dairy products with you."
> The plant details are elsewhere.
Talk about omission.
The very next sentence in that paragraph is "You can however bring a limited quantity of fruit and vegetables as well as eggs, egg products and honey. Restricted quantities of fish or fish products are also allowed."
And further down it details that the only fully restricted plants are cut flowers and plants intended for planting.
Worth remembering that there are also limits on what can be brought into Switzerland from the EU. The chances of being stopped are minimal but the limits are quite low e.g. 1kg for meat and meat products.